What is FAPE and how dos it apply to my children's education?
3 Answers from Attorneys
It doesn't unless they have special needs. It stands for "free and appropriate public education," which is guaranteed to all students in a district under federal law governing federal education funding to public schools. Complying with those laws is why all districts have special ed. programs, accomodations for kids with physical challenges, etc.
If you suspect that your children have school problems related to emotional, visual or physical problems you can request an assessment for special education services from the school district in which you reside. FAPE is provided for in the IDEA, IDEIA and state statutes-20 USC sections 1400 et seq;, Education Code section 56000 et seq.
FAPE is a huge term. All special needs children have a legal right per the Individuals with Disabilities Education Ace (IDEA) to an education which is appropriate to meet their unique needs. FAPE describes their right to a "Free and Appropriate Public Education." They must be qualified for special education first to come under IDEA, which is a whole process in itself.
If your child is in special education, you need to study up on your rights and learn more to evaluate whether the district is meeting your child's needs. If not, and your child is struggling and you think he/she needs specialized instruction or services, you can put in a written request for special education assessment. If you don't like the results, you can even ask for an outside assessment at school district expense.
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Best of luck!
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